Daily Archives: November 15, 2016

King Square, Bristol, 2015 by Tom Sastry

I am not a silent poet

This is not a poem about homelessness.

This is a poem about tents appearing

in parks and squares. This is not a poem

about churches that look like garages

or praise songs sung for soup. This is not a poem

about orphaned trolleys full, for the first time

of meaning. This is not a poem about

Keep off the Grass. This is not a poem

about police tape or the words

Forensic Investigations.. This is not a poem

about the man shouting  to the hostel window

that he knows Welsh Cunt Dave is in there.

This is not a poem about Welsh Cunt Dave.


This is about me being slow to realise

why the tents appeared. This is about a city

refusing to know itself, scurrying past.

This is about no-one offering soup without Jesus.

This is about the cameras that film the trolleys

and the bins…

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Blair interviews Blair, Jerusalem, 2011 by Tom Sastry

I am not a silent poet

The great work of persuasion continues.

It is a beautiful day. The smell of lemons.

He does what he can. I ask him why

he does it for nothing when his time is so

precious. The answer is simple. There is

an emergency. A perversion of faith.

It is the world’s fight. Of course he has

made mistakes. But he saw the fight

where others could not. He saw that Terror

is not just a few bombs. It is a creed

of death, masquerading as religion.

In Kosovo and Sierra Leone he showed

that when we stand for our values,

the common values of the world, it is not

Imperialism. It is the purest form of charity.

That is why he takes no payment. The work

is hard. Not everyone sees what he is doing.

The great work of persuasion continues.


Tom Sastry lives and writes in Bristol. His…

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The flogging stone in Bagamoyo by Helen Freeman

I am not a silent poet

sounds the thunk of chains, 
the marimba far off in the distance
and the wind pounding it.
Sweat lands like a bloated barbet 
stains ochre from flesh rubbed raw.
Our goodbyes were being born.
Groans like rain pelting trees 
fit for no ear, reach mine.
My tongue tastes of tar, timber, 
dead fish. The slice of a slave whip, 
luting, shrieking a strident dark music
to no drumbeat. De-fib. Erratic 
as the prayers you howled 
under the fall of a hammer,
arms bound in a cross-less execution
Bagamoyo –  a Tanzanian coastal town used by slave traders in late 19th century.
It means ‘Say goodbye to your heart’

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Dear Mullah, what does ‘lightly beat’ mean? by Helen Freeman

I am not a silent poet

Peace be upon you and your esteemed wife.
You could lightly beat the dinner gong or bang your bongos. You might
just beat the red light with one hand lightly
on your horn. Pound on the chilli sauce bottle with its added kick
for your mutton. Eggs? Rugs? – Not a husband’s
job of course. By all means – a stick? a toothbrush? – if you’ve got the b*lls,
beat the wife when needed, but only in
secret, not as you thrash your slave, but for her inner beauty and in full self-
control. This is our virtue and defence.
(A Golden Shovel poem from quote in the Khabaristan Times 27/05/16)
Helen Freeman published a collection of poems, Broken (Author House, 2011) in recovery time following a severe road traffic accident in Oman. Since then she has developed a passion for poetry…

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